By BRAD HILLWIG
KTUU-TV, Anchorage, AK
KTUU-TV has taken a step into the future, as construction has officially begun on its new state-of-the-art facility, to be dubbed “The Northern Lights Media Center”.
The station held a ceremonial groundbreaking on July 12 at the site of the media outlet’s future home, a four-acre tract of land in midtown Anchorage.
Last March, the Schurz Communications board of directors approved construction of a new facility for the Anchorage NBC affiliate that produces the award-winning Channel 2 News products seen throughout much of Alaska. The 40,000-square-foot facility will be a third larger than KTUU-TV’s current home and will be equipped with cutting edge high definition (HD) technology.
“It’s really a historic moment for Channel 2”, said President and General Manager Andy MacLeod. “This facility will be the first in our 60-year history that is built specifically for what we do as a media company. It will be a great platform for our talented employees, who deserve a top-notch work environment that matches their unparalleled abilities. The facility will be a springboard for our future as we look to modernize our workflows and develop top quality content across all media platforms”.
The new location, just a block and a half from KTUU-TV’s current studios, will allow the station to maintain a central location within Anchorage. It will also be located in close proximity to fiber hubs that serve all of Alaska.
According to MacLeod the new facility will be designed for growth, flexibility and adaptability. “We Alaskan’s are quite good at adapting to change,” he said. “As a media company we have to stay on the front edge of what today’s media consumers and today’s clients want. We want to build a facility and a culture that embraces and harnesses change, rather than reacts to it”.
KTUU-TV has been working with Neeser Construction Inc., a top Alaska design-builder, since August, 2012 on plans for the building. NCI has received local, regional, and national honors for many of its design-build projects and is spearheading the overall design of the facility, with Anchorage-based Spark Design, LLC as its lead designer.
KTUU-TV will also collaborate with Beck Associates, headquartered in Texas, for the integration management and technical design. Beck is a nationwide leader in the video and television integration business and has worked with clients ranging from ESPN, BELO Corporation and many local stations located across the U.S.
The new building is expected to be ready for occupancy by summer, 2014.
At the July groundbreaking ceremony, Alaska Representative Chris Tuck presented KTUU-TV with a legislative citation in recognition of the station’s 60th anniversary. KTUU-TV’s early beginnings date back to 1953. Over the ensuing six decades, the station has built a reputation of excellence as Alaska’s most watched news source, producing more than 22-hours of news, weather and sports content each week on television. Online, KTUU.com has become a digital news leader, and Channel 2’s mobile News, Weather and live streaming applications are on the leading edge of mobile journalism in Alaska. Nielsen Media research shows that Channel 2 News products reach approximately 89-percent of the adults who watch local news in a week, and more than 85-percent of those viewers watch Channel 2 News exclusively. That strong reach and brand loyalty are augmented by added distribution to the state’s capital and more than 244 rural communities throughout Alaska.